A reader of Debjanir Rannaghar requested me to share the recipe of Bhangachora Shukto a few days back. I fumbled at first then replied truthfully; “I am not aware of the same.”
It was a shock for her for sure but this is who and how I am. I am absolutely okay with my limited knowledge. However, I try to learn. The name Bhangachora Shukto was enough to boost me to dig the well. After all, I was thirsty for the details about Bhangachora Shukto. Certainly, people helped me and so does a little internet search.
I talked to food historian Pritha Sen and my neighboring auntie to gather details. Here I must mention, I asked Pia Promina Dasgupta Barve about this dish. Pia di very dignifiedly told me to go to Pritha di as she was also not aware of bhangachora shukto!
Bhangachora Shukto aka Bhangachora Torkari:
A bit sweeter on the palate, prepared with several veggies and fish-head along with shrimp/ prawn and at times small fresh-water fish, Bhangachora Shukto aka Bhangachora Torkari is a Bengali Side. This particular type of Shukto is prepared with no added bitter element.
Food Historian Pritha Sen on Bhangachora Shukto aka Bhangachora Torkari:
It was a nice and enriching discussion with Pritha Di (as always). According to her, this dish is known as Bhanga Macher Torkari also. and is prepared with no onion and no garlic. Furthermore, Fishhead, Prawns/ Shrimps, and several veggies along with a few spices (Randhuni is a must) are the required ingredients for this typical Bengali delicacy. Prithadi specifically mentioned, the texture of this Torkari is very important and must be handled properly while cooking. Bhangachora aka Broken which means almost mushy but not fully!
A Homemaker’s view on Bhangachora Shukto: The neighboring Auntie from Dhaka:
The Auntie next door is a great cook, another person I decided to contact. They are originally from Dhaka, however, relocated to Tripura after partition. They have shifted their base to Kolkata a few years back and now our neighbor in the same apartment. We both discuss a lot about Bengali food and this time also Auntie shared some very interesting details.
She remembers this dish and told me it is a regular preparation till now at her place! I gathered they add Mourola Mach and also prawns/ shrimps while cooking Bhangachora Shukto. She also confirmed about the no-bitter rule.
She was talking about the dishes which typically came into existence to cater the need of the XX chromosome bearers of the family! There are actually several dishes that the Bengali matriarchs developed using ingredients which were almost leftover while cooking for themselves. Jethima, in fact, was talking about Bou Khuda Pulao as well! Have you seen another recipe name here 😉 . I do 🙂 .
I found two Bengali articles on Bhangachora Shukto:
Morelganj’s Bhangachora Tarkari: (Click to read)
This was a mandatory preparation on Nababarsha (Bengali New Year) in Morelganj Rajbari. Morelganj was named after British administrator Mr. Morel and was nearby now Khulna district in Bangladesh. They were allowed to eat meat on that day and they used to make a Shukto with no Bitter! With fish head, Jhinge (Ridge gourd), Begun (Eggplant); this dish was served with rice. Morelganj’s specialty was fish cooked with no onion and garlic. The dish was mushy and hence the name “Bhangachora Shukto”
Kasturi’s Bhangachora Shukto: (Click to read)
Another article talks about the same dish now available at Kasturi, the Bengali specialty restaurant. They also have emphasized on a shukto prepared with no bitter element, Use of Turmeric, cooked with Randhuni and ghee. Special cuts of veggies (specifically Eggplant, ridge gourd, banana stem and fish head are some of the ingredients required for making Bhangachora Shukto.
Bhangachora Shukto aka Bhangachora Torkari from Debjanir Rannaghar!
After gulping the interesting details I decided to cook it with fish-head, small fish, and prawns! For the small fishes and Prawns, Auntie specifically mentioned to not to fry but to opt for “santlano” (shallow frying!). I have used Potato, Ridge gourd, Eggplant, Pumpkin, and Green Papaya. Above all, Randhuni and Methi Seed (fenugreek seed) along with bay leaf were there as tempering. Following Kasturi’s note, Turmeric powder was there. Last but not the least I have used Ghee and Ginger paste and those two boosted the flavor and the end result was a bowl full of heaven!
I tried making this dish without small-fish as well, however, I found the Bhangachora Shukto cooked with small-fish more flavorful to my palate. Needless to say, the choice is yours. Besides that, Randhuni is a rare find outside Bengal if I am not wrong. In fact, this is the reason, I have used five spice powder as well. Above All, a dollop of Ghee is must for the added aroma and richness! Though not mentioned in the recipe, however, I have added a few green chilies as well. Last but not the least, try to use the head of a big fish instead of the smaller one.
Here’s how you make Bhangachora Shukto aka Bhangachora Torkari.
- Serves: 5 People
- Serving size: 100g
- Calories: 212
- Fat: 4.2g
- Saturated fat: 2.3g
- Carbohydrates: 35.5g
- Sugar: 11.2g
- Sodium: 739mg
- Fiber: 5.1g
- Protein: 10.7g
- Cholesterol: 14mg
- Fish-head: 1
- Small Prawns: 100g (de-veined and cleaned)
- Mourola Mach/ Small Freshwater fish: 100g (cleaned) (optional)
- Potato: 2
- Eggplant: 1
- Ridge Gourd/ Jhinge: 1
- Pumpkin: 150g
- Plantain: 1 (optional)
- Green Chili: 2 (optioal)
- Ginger paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Ghee: 1 Tbsp.
- Mustard Oil: 3 Tbsp.
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Panchphoron Powder: 1 Tsp. (optional)
- Sugar: 1 Tbsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Randhuni/ Celery Seed: 1 Tsp.
- Methi Seed/ Fenugreek Seed: ½ Tsp.
- Bay Leaf: 2
- Wash fish-head, prawns and also the small fishes.
- Marinate those with half of the Turmeric powder and salt.
- Cut the veggies into Strips/ cubes. I have cut only the pumpkin into cubes.
- Now heat the 2 Tbsp. oil and start frying the fish head on low temperature.
- Fry the fish-head from both side.
- Now add small fishes and fry those also along with the head.
- Using a ladle broke the fish-head.
- lastly, add prawns to the pan and shallow fry for a minute.
- Transfer the content from the pan to a bowl.
- Now heat 1 Tbsp. oil in the same pan and temper the oil with Randhuni, Fenugreek Seed and Bay leaf.
- Add Ginger paste along with a Tbsp. of water and cook on low flame.
- Now add all the vegetables followed by little turmeric powder, salt, sugar and Panchphoron powder also.
- Mix using a ladle and cover the pan with a lid and cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes.
- Add 2-3 cups of water to cover the veggies and cover the pan with lid again.
- Cook on low flame until all the veggies are well-cooked and absorb ⅔ water content.
- Using a spatula or ladle mash the veggies a bit.
- Now add fried fish0head, small fishes, and prawns and mix.
- Add chopped green chilis (optional).
- Cook until the content is semi-thick.
- Add Ghee and after mixing properly, switch the flame off.
- Serve it hot with steamed rice to start the meal.
You may skip plantain as well.
Mourola mach is optional but gives an amazing flavor to the dish. If available I advise it to use.
I have used the head of a big size Katla Fish. You may use the head of any big freshwater fish.
Green Chili is optional as well.
Bengali side dishes prepared with Fish-head or small fishes/ seafood from Debjanir Rannaghar apart from Bhangachora Shukto:
- Ilish Shukto
- Muro Ghonto
- Bengali Macher Matha diye Bhaja Muger Dal aka Macher Muro Diye Dal
- Lau Chingri
- Pui Chingri Ghonto aka Malabar Spinach Mishmash with Prawns (with Potato and Pumpkin)
- Shutki Chingri Bhorta
- Nona Ilish Bhorta/ Bhuna
Have you tried the Bhangachora Shukto aka Bhangachora Torkari Bhanga Macher Torkari Recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do let me know how it came out. Also, I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here on email@example.com. Furthermore, on Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar or can tag me at @foodofdebjani.
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